Plaphol Takes Over Solo Lead in China

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 25, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Volve China OpenJIANGSU, China -- Chawalit Plaphol posted a 5-under 67 on Friday to take the lead midway through the Volvo China Open. He stands at 12-under-par 132 and is three ahead at Shenzhen Golf Club.
France's Francois Delamontagne, who shared the opening-round lead with Plaphol, carded a 2-under 70 and is tied for second place with England's Oliver Wilson, who shot a five-under 67 on Friday. The pair is knotted at minus-9.
Plaphol, whose first-round 65 established a new course record at Shenzhen Golf Club, began on the back nine Friday. He collected his first birdie at the par- five 12th from six feet out, then added another at 18 from slightly closer.
On the first hole, Plaphol hit an eight-iron to six feet and converted the birdie putt. He dropped his only shot at the par-four sixth when his wedge approach missed the green, but the rest was spectacular, thanks to his iron game.
All three of his additional birdies came from inside six feet. Plaphol's last birdie, at the eighth, was a six-footer that gave him a three-shot lead and a share of the tournament's 36-hole record, originally set by David Gleeson in the 2002 event.
'I birdied all the par-fives today and it's helped me over the last two days,' said Plaphol, who can become the third Thai golfer to win a co-sanctioned event between The European Tour and the Asian Tour. 'The key here is to hit fairways. If I have a chance to attack the course, then I will go for it. Otherwise, I will play it safe when necessary at the weekend.'
Plaphol has two career victories, neither on the European Tour, and played well in this event last year. He tied for third behind Stephen Dodd.
'I won an Asian Tour event in 1998 and in Japan last year, but I would love to win a European Tour event,' admitted Plaphol. 'I just have to keep playing well and hope that happens.'
Delamontagne was one-over through six holes, then got it going. He birdied three in a row from the seventh to reach nine-under par for the championship, but fatigue caught up with the Frenchman.
He parred his entire back nine and in addition to high temperatures, had another reason for running out of gas on the second nine Friday.
'I think I possibly had too much sleep last night,' he said. 'I was really tired, but I had about 11 hours in total which I think was too much and made it difficult for me to shake myself awake. I think I will have to cut down a little tonight and get to the course earlier tomorrow for some practice as I really have to try and sort out my driving.'
Wilson mixed seven birdies and two bogeys for his 67.
Simon Yates posted his second four-under 68 in as many days and is alone in fourth place at eight-under-par 136. Ross Fisher of England also fashioned a round of 68 on Friday and has sole possession of fifth place at seven-under- par 137.
Jyoti Randhawa (67) and Miles Tunnicliff (70) share sixth place at minus-six. Shiv Kapur (70) and Terry Pilkadaris (71) are knotted in eighth at five-under- par 139.
Paul Casey and Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Thaworn Wiratchant are part of a large group tied for 10th place at minus-four.
Dodd, who teamed with Bradley Dredge last week to win the World Cup for Wales, shot a one-under 71 and is tied for 25th place at two-under-par 142.
The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 144 and 67 players made it to the weekend.
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.